We’ve published data on Metered Parking Transactions (APR – JUN 2018) on Arlington County’s Open Data Portal – view here.
Arlington Data Matters Blog
We use this blog to update the community on dataset changes and other topics of interest. Most posts written by the Department of Technology Services.
We’ve published data on Administrative Change Requests on Arlington County’s Website – view here.
We’ve published data on Employee Demographics on Arlington County’s Website – view here.
We’ve published data on Enjoy Arlington Activities and Enrollments on Arlington County’s Website – view here.
We’ve published data on County Employee Postal Codes by Department on Arlington County’s Website – view here.
The Data Matters blog is one year old. What a year’s it’s been, with so many perspectives on data presented. But presentation is a one-way conversation. What this blog really aims to do is to encourage every reader to actively engage with the data around them, and each other, to get the most value out of this unique asset. As the data message spreads across the County, one aspect seems to really resonate with almost everyone – data visualization. Data visualization at its simplest is taking an Excel spreadsheet and turning it into a bar chart – many of us have been doing this for years. Today’s data visualization offers many more tools than pie and bar charts, and perhaps most importantly, allows you to interact with your data any time. For example, if you produce a report listing how many services provided annually and you are asked how many services were provided by a particular team, your report might not have that. Data visualizations allow you to show a graphic and then pick which data elements appear in the graphic. You could take the same services report and look at the data quarterly or monthly, by division or individual, by category of service, by where the service was provided. And the best part is that it’s really not that hard to do and there’s a really great tool available for FREE. Microsoft’s PowerBI can be installed on your computer for free and in a few minutes, you can pull in a spreadsheet and present an insightful graphic. Try it today … and tomorrow!
Since Feb 2016, Arlington County has been publishing datasets to its Open Data Portal. The site currently has close to 200 datasets. Most of the datasets are essentially reports from County systems that record the activity related to County services, for example real estate property values, tennis court reservations and construction permits. But tax dollars pay for a lot of other kids of data collection and data analysis, and consequently, there are numerous other sources of open data. For example, the County regularly conducts surveys to gauge constituent opinions on a wide range of topics. This data – with all possible personally identifiable information removed – is a candidate for open data. Aggregated data is another source of information that could be published. A report offers a line of data for every transaction but aggregate data summarizes and organizes this information in useful and reusable ways. Aggregate data is also a way to share information securely when sharing the individual transactions would be a breach of privacy. When you have a challenge or an opportunity that could be informed by data, be creative. That dataset may exist and could be just a request away.
We’ve published data on Fire Incidents on Arlington County’s Website – view here.
We’ve published data on the Top 1000 pages on Arlington County’s Website – view here.
In June, the County Manager’s Open Data Advisory Group compiled three recommendations for the County Manager’s consideration. The County Manager’s responses were discussed during the Group’s Sept 27 meeting. Below is a summary of the recommendations and the agreed-upon actions.
Recommendation #1: Build Inventory of County Data Assets to Publish as Open Data
Action: County staff recently completed an initial Data Inventory of the County’s major lines of business data and other key data assets. Each item in the inventory is tagged with the type of data collected. All the datasets that include open data will be evaluated for priority and feasibility, and an overall schedule for open data publication posted to the Arlington community around June 2019.
Recommendation #2: Evaluate Level of effort Required to Standardize County Data Definitions
Action: County staff will begin by collecting definitions for each column in a dataset published to the Open Data Portal, including going back to define datasets already published. When complete, County staff will complete an initial analysis of datasets that include similar information and develop a level of effort to work with the owning departments to standardize definitions and format. Priority and schedule will be considered further at that time.
Recommendation #3: Convert PDFs on County Website to Open Data
Action: County staff will take an initial look at the content of ~10K PDFs currently on the County’s website and identify those that contain data tables that may be converted to open data. Candidate PDFs will be considered along with the open dataset candidates identified via the Data Inventory from Recommendation #1.